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LEADING CHARACTERS OF THE STORY

ROBERT E. LEE

The Southern Commander. MRS. LEE

His Wife. CUSTIS

His older Son. MARY

His Daughter. MRS. MARSHALL

Lee's Sister. UNCLE BEN

The Butler. SAM

A Slave. J. E. B. STUART

The Flower of Cavaliers." FLORA COOKE

His Sweetheart.
PHIL SHERIDAN

His Schoolmate.
FRANCIS PRESTON BLAIR Lincoln's Messenger.
SENATOR ROBERT TOOMBS of Georgia.
JOHN BROWN

of Osawatomie. JOHN E. COOK

His Spy. VIRGINIA KENNEDY

Cook's Victim. GERRIT SMITH

A Philanthropist. GEORGE EVANS

A Labor Leader. F. B. SANBORN

Brown's Organizer. REV. THOMAS W. HIGGINSON A Revolutionist. WM. C. RIVES

Confederate Senator GEN. E. P. ALEXANDER of Lee's Artillery. JOHN DOYLE

A Poor White. MAHALA DOYLE

His Wife. EDMOND RUFFIN

A Virginia Planter.

THE MAN IN GRAY

CHAPTER I

T

HE fireflies on the Virginia hills were blinking in the dark places beneath the trees and a katydid was

singing in the rosebush beside the portico at Arlington. The stars began to twinkle in the serene sky. The lights of Washington flickered across the river. The Capitol building gleamed argus-eyed on the hill. Congress was in session, still wrangling over the question of Slavery and its extension into the territories of the West.

The laughter of youth and beauty sifted down from open windows. Preparations were being hurried for the ball in honor of the departing cadets—Custis Lee, his classmate, Jeb Stuart, and little Phil Sheridan of Ohio whom they had invited in from Washington.

The fact that the whole family was going to West Point with the boys and Colonel Robert E. Lee, the new Superintendent, made no difference. One excuse for an oldfashioned dance in a Southern home was as good as another. The main thing was to bring friends and neighbors, sisters and cousins and aunts together for an evening of joy.

A whippo'will cried his weird call from a rendezvous in the shadows of the lawn, as Sam entered the great hall and began to light the hundreds of wax tapers in the chandeliers.

"Move dat furniture back now!” he cried to his assistants. “And mind yo' p's and q's. Doan yer break nuttin."

His sable helpers quietly removed the slender mahogany and rosewood pieces to the adjoining rooms. They laughed at Sam's new-found note of dignity and authority.

He was acting butler to-night in Uncle Ben's place. No servant was allowed to work when ill—no matter how light the tasks to which he was assigned. Sam was but twenty years old and he had been given the honor of superintending the arrangements for the dance. And, climax of all, he had been made leader of the music with the sole right to call the dances, although he played only the triangle in the orchestra. He was in high fettle.

When the first carriage entered the grounds his keen ear caught the crunch of wheels on the gravel. He hurried to call the mistress and young misses to their places at the door. He also summoned the boys from their rooms upstairs. He had seen the flash of spotless white in the carriage. It meant beauty calling to youth on the hill. Sam knew.

Phil came downstairs with Custis. The spacious sweep of the hall, its waxed floor clear of furniture, with hundreds of blinking candles flashing on its polished surface, caught his imagination. It was a fairy world—this generous Southern home. In spite of its wide spaces, and its dignity, it was friendly. It caught his boy's heart.

Mrs. Lee was just entering. Custis' eyes danced at the sight of his mother in full dress. He grasped Phil's arm and whispered:

“Isn't my mother the most beautiful woman you ever saw?"

He spoke the words half to himself. It was the instinctive worship of the true Southern boy, breathed in genuine

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reverence, with an awe that was the expression of a religion.

"I was just thinking the same thing, Custis," was the sober reply.

I beg your pardon, Phil,” he hastened to apologize. "I didn't mean to brag about my mother to you. It just slipped out. I couldn't help it. I was talking to myself.”

“You needn't apologize. I know how you feel. She's already made me think I'm one of you

He paused and watched Mary Lee enter from the lawn leaning on Stuart's arm. Stuart's boyish banter was still ringing in her ears as she smiled at him indulgently. She hurried to her mother with an easy, graceful step and took her place beside her. She was fine, exquisite, bewitching. She had never come out in Society. She had been born in it. She had her sweethearts before thirteen and not one had left a shadow on her quiet, beautiful face. She demanded, by her right of birth as a Southern girl, years of devotion. And the Southern boy of the old régime was willing to serve.

Phil stood with Stuart and watched Custis kiss a dozen pretty girls as they arrived and call each one cousin.

"Is it a joke?” he asked Stuart curiously.
“What?"
“This cousin business."

“Not much. You don't think I'd let him be such a pig if I could help him, do you?”

“Are they all kin?”

“Yes” Stuart laughed. “Some of it gets pretty thin in the second and third cousin lines. But it's thick enough for him to get a kiss from every one-confound him!”

The hall was crowding rapidly. The rustle of silk, the

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